Ward's Winning Luck

ELLIOTT Ward admits that West Ham United have used up their luck after last weekend's results and must now take matters into their own hands with three points at his old club Watford on Sunday.

The big defender could not believe how well events panned out for Alan Pardew's men just a day after defeat to Sunderland looked to have driven a nail into their Play-off chances. Now the 20-year-old centre-back is calling for his team to take advantage of their good fortune with a winning performance at Vicarage Road.

"It would be fantastic to clinch a Play-off place with a win at Watford," he admitted. "We know that we can do it and after the weekend's results it's in our hands again. We're focused on going there and getting the three points we need, and despite the Sunderland result, confidence amongst the lads is high.

"I was really disappointed after the Sunderland game, especially with my own performance, but with what happened the day after to Reading and Derby, I never really let it sink in.

"Having experienced a disappointing Friday night it was suddenly all positive again on Saturday and that's really the way it has stayed right through this week.

"Naturally I want to put the Sunderland game behind me and perform a lot better on Sunday. I was angry with myself for their second goal in particular, but I've got a chance to put it right at Watford and help the team secure the win we need."

It will be a return to familiar territory for Ward, who was with Watford as a youngster before joining the West Ham United Academy.

"I joined Watford when I was 12 and played there for two years before joining West Ham. I had some good times there as a schoolboy, as did the rest of my family, because my brothers played there as well.

"I played with their full-back Ashley Young in the junior teams and he has done well to go through and play for the first-team, and my brother Darren played there as well before joining Millwall. 

"But none of that will count for much on Sunday. All I'm thinking about is going there, getting the three points and hopefully securing a place in the Play-offs."

Despite a poor display by his own admission against Sunderland, Ward can look back on this season as the finest of his fledgling career.

He has made 10 Championship appearances for the first-team since his League debut at Reading just two months ago and has earned rave reviews with some cultured displays alongside fellow Academy star Anton Ferdinand.

After enduring a torrid, injury-stricken campaign last season Elliott is delighted with his progress this term.

"I've been through a lot so it's just brilliant to have come back and made my breakthrough in the first-team," he said.

"I had a back injury that kept me out for pretty much all of last season. But I've worked really hard at my game and fitness levels this season and it has definitely paid off.

"I feel I've really improved as a player since the start of the season. Definitely having some good senior professionals around me has helped my development, and obviously playing at first-team level raises your game a notch in terms of pace and sharpness.

"Playing alongside Anton, I think we've struck up a pretty good partnership. The main thing is we believe in each other and trust in the other's ability.

"I think that has just come because we've grown up and progressed together through the youth and Reserve teams, and that's enabled us to have a good understanding of each other's abilities.

"We didn't have our best game at Sunderland, but that aside I think we've coped really well over the last few games.

"The team has been on a good run during that time as well. Now we need to put the Sunderland result behind us, hopefully do the business against Watford and then concentrate on the Play-offs."